A person considering an advanced degree in psychology may wonder, “How can psychologists help with traumatic brain injury?” A traumatic brain injury is a serious injury to the head that causes swelling, bleeding, bruising or inflammation, and it disrupts the normal functioning of the brain. Medical care is essential to the healing process, and therapy provided by psychologists can also help a person with their recovery from these serious injuries.
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Management of Emotions After a Brain Injury
When a person has a traumatic brain injury, their emotions could be all over the place. They may be in denial of the seriousness of their injury. They could be in shock over what happened to them. If another person was also injured or died, they might have survivor’s guilt. They could feel angry about what happened. Some people are sad or experience depression after a serious brain injury. A psychologist offers cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness and other therapeutic techniques to help the person manage and accept their emotions.
After a traumatic brain injury, a person may lose some of their cognitive functions. Psychotherapists help the person recover those functions and deal with the emotional aftermath of losing and having to work to regain those functions. In this aspect of care, a psychologist might work with other therapists, such as occupational therapists, in order to help with the recovery process. Cognitive rehabilitation may include social skills training, task sequencing, and following directions.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Memory Impairment
Psychologists also help people with a traumatic brain injury by diagnosing and treating memory impairments, explains the United States National Library of Medicine. After a traumatic brain injury, a person may lose some of their memories. For example, after a concussion, a person may lose their memories of the event and a short time before and after the event. A person who has a stroke may lose memories from the past few years but have clear memories of their childhood. Some people may have short-term memory loss that persists. For example, in a conversation, they might ask the same question five or six times, forgetting that they already asked it and that their conversational partner already answered it.
Assistance With Stress Management
When a person experiences a traumatic brain injury, they may also have a lot of stress. If they lost some cognitive functions and can no longer do their job or handle their usual errands and household activities, this could be stressful and frustrating. A person whose physical recovery is slow could also feel stressed. A traumatic brain injury can lead to permanent disability, making it difficult for a person to engage in their favorite leisure activities. The loss of those abilities could also prove stressful. Psychologists offer therapy for stress management.
Most psychologists have a specific area of focus for their practice, and helping people who have had a serious injury is one type of expertise. Experiencing a traumatic brain injury can result in a major life change for the affected person and their family, and they may all benefit from counseling or therapy services from a psychologist. Understanding the answer to, “How can psychologists help with traumatic brain injury?” gives a degree candidate or new graduate a glimpse at what they could do in their career.